Dear Editor: The rise of teachers strikes in red and blue states shows that workers are ready for unions. But not the traditional AFL-CIO (the largest federation of labor unions in USA) union, a new kind of union. We need a union led by the rank-and-file workers, not by the union bureaucracy. Teachers in West Virginia did not wait for the union to approve of the strike; they organized themselves through Facebook groups and talking to coworkers. We need a union independent of electoral politics in order to reach both Democrats and Republicans. The I.W.W (Industrial Workers of the World) has been independent from electoral politics its entire existence, which allows them to focus on the needs of working people and communities.

We need a new type of union that does not function solely in the workplace but also in our communities. For example, the Democratic Socialists of America, which focuses on issues of working people, did a free brake-light clinic, which both highlighted the problem of police harassment and helped community members who couldn't afford car repairs. These changes could bring back organized labor in a big way, igniting a new workers movement. While the recent Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME was a big loss for labor unions, it doesn't have to be the death of labor unions. It’s time to organize, strike, and win!

Matthew Thompson


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